I am happy to report that in almost 25 years of living in Mallorca I have never suffered from any lawbreaking.
Which is actually not quite true. I had my car broken into, windows smashed, some 20 years ago, on two occasions. Once an expensive leather jacket was stolen, and the other time, a cheapish car radio. Then, we had our country house broken into, again on two occasions, also some 15 or 20 years ago. But none of these burglaries or break-ins brought any serious material losses with them; the emotional damage might have been a different matter each and every time.
Yesterday was different, though. I suffered, or rather my female companion suffered, a pretty cold-blooded robbery attack, bang in the middle of the Palma suburb of Es Molinar, on a relatively busy street, not too late at night. The assault made us feel as if we were in a bad movie, a bit unreal really, a bit like in the Twilight Zone.
What I wanted to tell you about, though, is how the law dealt with it, and this is the good news about an otherwise unpleasant experience. First, we went back to our car. Then we proceeded to the nearest Guardia Civil station known to me. There were three guards at the entrance to the post, a male and two female, all uniformed and armed to the hilt. We were not invited in but told that we would have to make our way to the Policía Nacional as the Guardia Civil would not deal in such criminal matters. When I inquired about the nearest Policía Nacional station there was quite a bit of humming and hahing, as if the officers were unsure as to where to send us. Eventually we were directed to the Paseo Mallorca. That’s were we went.
We were not allowed into the main building there but were redirected to a separate entrance dealing with Denuncios. We were dealt with in a friendly and efficient manner, although I have to say that we spent the best part of two hours reporting the juvenile bag snatching. We were given telephone numbers and a free phone line to cancel the stolen credit cards and mobile phones. We were given competent advise and a courteous treatment. My companion could not present identification as all that was stolen together with passport, mobile phone, laptop computer, camera and whatnot, but hey, her Spanish residence number came up on the screen in no time and, presto, the rest was easy. Two documents were fashioned with five copies each, a total of 20 signatures between the Denunciante and the police officer, and some 20 stamps were impressed upon the papers.
Halfway through the lengthy procedure I need to go to the toilet. There were, apparently, no such facilities in the building. I was directed to a bar some way away, as all the closet ones were closed at this time of night (23h00). When I found the bar, a group of youngsters, not older than 21 or 22, was cheerfully assembled in there, all seemingly tattoo embellished. On second glance I spotted from their t-shirts that they were in fact all CNP officers (Cuerpo Nacional de Policía), albeit of the Motorbike Brigade, and quite obviously off-duty by now.
If you ever needed to have your handbag and/or laptop stolen, it might not be less painful here in Spain but it would seem more relaxed, more human and more colourful. And the bag snatchers, three youngsters of no more than 15 or 16 years of age, seemed full of canny, street-wise chutzpah. In a way I admired their astute temerity.
If you are offered a newish Mac Book Pro with a French keyboard at a knock-down price here in Mallorca, any time soon, please let me know.
The photo was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 8th, 2011. The time was 23:03:49.